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Dear Kensington Community:
Temple Emanuel’s sign featuring the Star of David and support for Israel was vandalized over the weekend. The Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) has classified this as a hate crime. The Town of Kensington strongly condemns attacks on our local religious institutions, including antisemitic attacks that are meant to intimidate and alienate Jewish members of our community.
The Maryland State Police and the Montgomery County Police reported an alarming rise in hate and bias incidents in 2022, and that trend has accelerated since October 7, 2023. In Montgomery County, over 90% of incidents motivated by bias towards religion were considered anti-Jewish – despite Jewish persons making up only 10% of the county’s population. At a time when many are feeling anguish over the war in Gaza and Israel, we must not allow anti-Jew, or anti-Muslim, bias and hate incidents to become normalized. We call on our community to denounce acts of hate that seek to divide us.
Almost a year ago we held a community training event at the Kensington Town Hall with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD). At this event, participants learned that when such incidents occur, it is important to immediately report them to the police so that they can collect evidence and begin investigations. Specifically, we were advised:
At the training event, we also discussed how we can work together to deter such hateful acts.
We learned that it is important to confront hate and bias incidents early, otherwise they can escalate into more harmful behavior including physical attacks.
Here are some of the ideas and resources that were shared by participants.
We must remain vigilant and committed to creating a community that welcomes and supports all people. We ask neighbors to have the courage to talk to each other. Please check in with people in our community who may be feeling isolated or unsafe because of the rise in hate incidents and harmful rhetoric. Continue to build relationships and show up for community events. Our visible strength and connections can help to deter those who seek to divide us.
Mayor Furman and the Kensington Town Council